Making retail connections with professionalism

08/16/2013 11:47:00 AM
Anthony Barbieri

Rather than zeroing in on what’s wrong with the competition, suppliers should focus energy on their company’s strengths and what they can do to help that retailer grow sales.

Respect time

Being relevant, personalizing your message, not wasting your breath on the competition — all these actions also demonstrate respect for retailers’ time and good use of your own time.

Like everyone else at busy industry events, retailers can get overloaded quickly and their every minute is valuable.

Here are some other ways retailers mentioned to help make good use of their time and your efforts:

 

  •  “Try to always get the key points out as fast as possible. Executive summaries work well for this purpose.”

  •  “Be prepared with multiple forms of marketing. If I don’t have time to do a full stop, I can get a CD or flash drive to take with me and review later.”

  •  “Have proper sell sheets. Business cards are fine, but when I review all the sell sheets after a show in my office, the people who just gave me business cards are less remembered.”

  •  “Stress how we can grow sales together. I am not as focused on short-term wins — as in ‘I will sell you a load of this’ as I am with long-term plans and sustained growth.”

  •  “Don’t seek me out while I’m having a conversation with another supplier. Even just jumping in to say ‘hi’ and shake hands can be annoying and disrespectful to the other party.”

 

Just as access to the right people and the right information can help your company grow, the right approach with retailers also plays a significant role in growing business.

When you lead with professionalism, good business magically follows.

Anthony Barbieri is vice president of sales and business development for the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association.

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